The New York City Bar Association has released its Legislative Program for 2011, a compilation of state legislative issues that have been studied and addressed by many of its committees. The program includes commentary on existing legislation as well as proposals for new legislation. While the program represents only a portion of the issues that the City Bar has analyzed or plans to review, it provides an overview of the wide variety of issues of importance to its committees.
Some highlights from the 2011 legislative program include:
• Government ethics and election law reform measures. The City Bar supports measures that will increase the transparency of operations and accountability of public officials; create an independent redistricting commission; enact no-excuse absentee ballot voting, and implement a filing fee alternatives for ballot access;
• Improving the integrity of the judicial process by increasing the availability of legal representation for low-income parties in civil cases, increasing the number of family court judges statewide, and implementing greater fairness and accountability in consumer debt litigation.
• Support for the equal civil rights of all New Yorkers, including the passage of the Marriage Equality Act, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act ('GENDA'), the Reproductive Health Act and laws that protect victims of domestic violence and trafficking.
• Advocating for alternative dispute resolution procedures. The City Bar supports measures that will increase the use of alternative dispute resolution procedures. In that vein, we will continue to advocate for legislation authorizing an attorney to attach a lien to awards and settlement proceeds received by his or her client through alternative dispute resolution or settlement.
• Improving the criminal justice system. Among the many criminal law issues our committees address, the City Bar supports expanding jurisdiction in identity theft cases, clarifying the law with respect to ineffective assistance of counsel claims, establishing rational measures to decrease wrongful convictions, expanding judicial discretion to award youthful offender status, and continuing the reform of the juvenile justice system.
• The City Bar's proposed legislation includes amendments to the Arts and Cultural Affairs Law to protect artists, their heirs and representatives when consigning artwork to galleries and merchants; amendments to the formula clause statute of the Estates, Powers and Trusts Law necessitated by changes to the federal tax laws; and legislation that would allow for the sealing of records containing certain arrest, petty offense, and youthful offender information.
The City Bar looks forward to continuing its advocacy on the wide variety of policy areas analyzed by its committees. To view the 2011 Legislative Program, visit http://bit.ly/eo6nDh.